Dec. 20 & 25, 2014 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web
Singer Robin Meade, longtime host of “Morning Express with Robin Meade” (HLN), guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.
To celebrate the spirit of the holidays, Las Vegas headliners Human Nature launched a brand new show titled “Christmas, Motown and More” in The Sands Showroom at The Venetian Las Vegas, with Special Guest Robin Meade.
Human Nature’s “Christmas, Motown, and More” started on Dec. 12, with a special 1 p.m. matinee show on Christmas Eve.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.humannaturelive.com or www.venetian.com or call (702) 414-9000.
Robin Meade is a New York Times Bestselling author and a singer-songwriter with 2 music albums. She’s jumped out of a perfectly good plane with President George HW Bush, hosted “Ask Oprah’s All Stars” at the mogul’s request, and belted the anthem to millions of Nascar & NFL fans. She’s performed with Kenny Chesney, Darius Rucker, Richard Marx, David Foster & The Tenors among others. She wrote 14 of the songs on her debut & followup albums “Brand New Day” & “Count On Me”, while her New York Times Best Selling book, “Morning Sunshine!” chronicled her rise over crippling panic attacks. Robin’s quick wit lands her visits to the “Steve Harvey Show”, “Wendy Williams” & “Extra” while her passion-filled vocals earn her a standing ovation on stages like the Grand Ole Opry.
My buddy Tony Orlando returns on LV Backstage Talk in backstage interview from The South Point Hotel & Casino.
Tony Orlando brings to the stage a warmth and exhilarating energy that electrifies an audience. From million selling records (five number one hits), a popular television variety series, movies and Broadway (Barnum and Smokey Joe’s Café), Tony Orlando has conquered every facet of show business.
Through no plans of his own, Tony was coaxed into putting his voice on a demo record for a song titled “Candida” for his friends Hank Medress and Dave Appell at Bell Records. The record was released under the name of the record promotion director’s daughter, Dawn.
Hoping lightning would strike again, Medress had Orlando recorded “Knock Three Times.” The song not only became number one, it was the tip song of 1971 selling over six million copies worldwide. The immense popularity of the song is still evident today. Tony’s recording of the song was featured in the hit movie Now and Then.
Realizing it was probably safe to give up his successful career at CBS Records, Tony decided to jump full force into what was already a meteoric rise to the top. Along with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson, Tony Orlando and Dawn became an international sensation.
Amazingly enough, Tony hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of his stardom. In 1973 he recorded “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree.” The song was number one for the year, became Orlando’s theme song and grew into an American anthem of hope and homecoming, reunion and renewal.
More about Tony Orlando here–>
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Dec. 18, 2014 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & Web
Comedian Carlos Mencia, The Nelson Twins guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk Radio Show with Comedian Michele LaFong on 1230AM, KLAV in Las Vegas and The Web.
In a candid “comic to comic” videotaped interview at Treasure Island, following Mencia’s phone interview on our radio show, Carlos answers accusations of stealing comedy material from his peers, which led to the cancellation of “Mind of Mencia” on Comedy Central.
One of the controversial youtube videos that LaFong discussed with Mencia is posted on the link below:
Comic Joe Rogan confronts Carlos Mencia about stealing material from fellow comics during a set he was performing at The Comedy Store. http://youtu.be/gdugSUFbzws
Currently on the road with his “C 4 URself” Tour, comedic superstar Carlos Mencia. Mencia has appearances on television shows including “In Living Color” and “An Evening at the Improv.” In 2000, he released a comedy album called “Take a Joke, America” that showcased his brand of confrontational humor. In 2002, he received a CableACE Award nomination for “Best Stand-Up Comedy Special” for his HBO special, and was featured on “Comedy Central Presents” later that year. In early 2005, “Mind of Mencia” debuted on Comedy Central, which drew an average of 1.5 million viewers. His most recent Comedy Central special, “New Territory,” debuted in December 2011.
His acting credits include starring opposite Ben Stiller and Michelle Monaghan in 2007’s “The Heartbreak Kid,” and in 2010 he starred in “Our Family Wedding” with Forrest Whittaker and America Ferrara.
Mencia will be featured in Michele LaFong’s Syndicated Monthly Columns, “Las Vegas Backstage Talk,” in Casino Player Magazine, and “Getting Personal with The Stars” in Gaming Today, and Feature Interviews in CP (Casino Player Magazine.)
For more about Carlos Mencia, click here–>
Mathew Nelson (The Nelson Twins)
Mathew Nelson of The Nelson Twins guest on LV Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.
Their music has stood the test of time. Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, revered for unforgettable past hits, explore fresh creative territory in the present with their new project, “Lightning Strikes Twice”. Magical melodic songwriting and soaring sibling harmonies continue to ensure that this dynamic duo is still a vital part of the music scene’s future.
“After the Rain” was the debut multi-platinum album by NELSON, the band led by twins
Matthew and Gunnar in the early 1990s. They zoomed to number one with their hit song,
“(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection,” which made history landing America’s iconic Nelson family (bandleader Ozzie Nelson, rock legend Rick Nelson, and twins Matthew & Gunnar) into the Guinness Book of World Records as the ONLY family in Entertainment with 3 successive generations of #1 hitmakers. NELSON’s “After the Rain” record and tour became a phenomenon just prior to the rise of grunge. The last major success of the good time rock’n’roll era, NELSON has had (1) Number One, (4) Top Ten, and (5) Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hit singles, plus (5) #1 MTV videos and has sold over 6.5 million albums worldwide!
For more go to http://www.Nelsonrocks.com
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Dec. 11, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web
Charlie Daniels and Ventriloquist Jay Johnson guests on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong.
The Charlie Daniels Band will bring their unique blend of country, southern rock and Christian music to The Orleans Showroom, December 12 and 13, as part of Boyd Gaming’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo entertainment line-up.
During the course of Charlie Daniels’ 50-plus year career, he has scored hits on the rock, country, pop and Christian charts and has received numerous awards from the Country Music Association (CMA), Academy of Country Music (ACM), TNN/Music City News Awards and the Gospel Music Association (GMA). Daniels was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.
Born in Wilmington, N.C., Daniels was raised on a variety of music that included Pentecostal gospel, local bluegrass bands, rhythm & blues and country.
His signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” topped both country and pop charts, bringing him international recognition. The single was certified platinum, earned three CMA awards, became a cornerstone of the soundtrack for the movie “Urban Cowboy” and propelled Daniels’ “Million Mile Reflections” album to triple platinum sales levels.
CHARLIE DANIELS: PLAYING “THE LEGEND” FORWARD WITH NEW TRIBUTE CD — OFF THE GRID – DOIN’ IT DYLAN
His first new album project release since 2007, Off The Grid is Dylan the Daniels way and the result is sheer musical genius.
Ventriloquist Jay Johnson
Ventriloquist Jay Johnson releases his Tony Award-winning show The Two & Only! The DVD can still be ordered in time for Christmas!
Jay Johnson made his Broadway debut at the Helen Hayes Theatre starring in the show he wrote and performed entitled “Jay Johnson: The Two and Only”. It won him the 2007 Tony Award for Best Special theatrical Event. Four months before the Broadway opening “Jay Johnson: The Two and Only” played the Colony Theatre were it won the Los Angeles Ovation award for Best Solo Show. The show was originally produced Off-Broadway the previous season at Atlantic Theatre company where it earned rave reviews and a Lucille Lortel Award nomimation.
Jay is a writer, comic, ventriloquist, poet, magician and puppeteer. He has written and performed in television specials for NBC, CBS, HBO and made hundreds of appearances on variety specials and talk shows like “The Tonight Show” (with Jay Leno and Johnny Carson) and “The David Letterman Show”. He has been featured in more that 30 national commercials. His acting credits include appearances on “CSI”, “That &70’s Show”, “Dave’s World”, “Night Court”, “Broken Badges” and many other shows that have come and gone. But he is best remembered for his role as the schizophrenic ventriloquist “Chuck and Bob” on the classic ABC television comedy “Soap”.
Jay and his wife, dancer Sandi Asbury, have been married for more than 38 years. They met while performing together at a theme park in Houston, Texas. Jay describes Sandi as the muse of his artistic life. They have two amazing sons, Brandon and Taylor. Although neither son pursued a career in ventriloquism, one teaches and studies languages in Berlin and the other is completing a degree in Linguistics at UCLA.
Dec. 4, 2014- 6-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web
Actor Nick Turturro partners up with Comedian Vic Dibitetto in Mall Cop 2. They both guest on Las Vegas Backstage Talk with Comedian Michele LaFong together, and separately.
Nicholas Turturro, Jr. was the youngest of three children born to carpenter Nicholas Turturro, Sr. and his wife, Katherine. Following in his brother John’s footsteps, Turturro majored in theater at Adelphi University but dropped out after two years to marry the mother of his child. While working as a hotel doorman in the late 1980s, Turturro was introduced by his brother John to Spike Lee, while the soon-to-be-famous director was shooting “Do the Right Thing.” Taking a liking to the young actor, Lee wrote the younger Turturro a part alongside his brother John in his next project, “Mo’ Better Blues” (1990). Lee would subsequently hire both the Turturro brothers for his next two follow-up projects, the controversial “Jungle Fever” (1991) and the well-received biopic “Malcolm X” (1992).
The actor’s greatest success, however, would come on television. In 1993, Turturro won the role of the good-natured Detective James Martinez on “NYPD Blue.” Though originally written for a Latino actor, the Italian-American Turturro made the character his own; immersing himself deeply in the “Nuyorican” (slang for New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent) culture and adopting mannerisms appropriate for the character. Paired alongside Gordon Clapp’s bumbling Detective Greg Medavoy, Turturro and Clapp brought the usually somber “NYPD Blue” a welcome lightness and spark of humor. A tough cop with a true heart of gold, Turturro’s quiet and dependable performance earned the actor two Emmy nods – first in 1994; then again in 1997 – for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. In 2000, however, Turturro decided that the Martinez character had run its course. Written out of the show with an off-screen promotion, Turturro left “NYPD Blue” after its seventh season; while, leaving the door open for a possible return.
Post-“Blue,” Turturro remained quite busy with steady, if unremarkable work as a guest star on such shows as “The Twilight Zone” (UPN, 2002-03), “Tremors: the Series” (Sci-Fi Channel, 2003-04) and “Third Watch” (NBC, 1999-2005). In 2006, Turturro revealed his ruthlessly competitive side when he appeared as a contestant on “Celebrity Fit Club 2″ (VH1, 2005- ). Later that year, Turturro returned to the big screen with a feature role in director Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center” (2006). Turturro popped up the following year with a turn in the fireman-posing-as-gay-couple comedy “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007). After a small appearance in the Ice Cube-Tracy Morgan comedy “First Sunday” (2008), the actor played the trainer of controversial boxing legend Sonny Liston (Ving Rhames) in the sports biopic “Phantom Punch” (2008). For a more personal project, Turturro co-wrote and starred in the immigration comedy-drama “The Deported” (2009) alongside his young son, Nicholas Turturro III. There was another supporting role in the heist movie “Takers” (2010), in addition to portraying Sgt. Anthony Renzulli, the partner of rookie cop Jamie Reagan (Will Estes) in the police-drama series “Blue Bloods” (CBS, 2010- ). Turturro turned in a pair of quick cameos for his pal in the Sandler produced comedies “Zookeeper” (2011) and “Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star” (2011), then joined the cast of the slasher flick “Nurse 3D” (2012), starring Paz de la Huerta as a dedicated by deadly caregiver.
Comedian Vic Dibitetto
Comedian Vic Dibitetto has been headlining comedy clubs around the country for over 30 years. He became an internet sensation when he posted a comedic video on YouTube that went viral and caught the attention on Comedian Kevin James. He called Vic personally to ask him to be in Mall Cop Blart 2 teamed-up with Actor Nick Turturro. He is currently filming at Wynn through next week.Share on Facebook Tweet
by Michele LaFong
Las Vegas Backstage Talk syndicated column in Casino Player Magazine and Gaming Today.
Dec. LVBST column 2014
It was obvious from the over 1400 people that turned out for The Next Generation show at The M Casino last month that this multi-media production show concept starring sons and daughters of show-biz legends backed by a big band shows promise of being a winner if built upon correctly, the casting played with and is executed a little more creatively. Since this was a first-time effort by Producer Patty Asher, I’m sure many lessons were learned, and adjustments will be made as with any new first time production. The order for the line-up of the evening went as follows: Lena Prima, daughter of Louis Prima, Steve March Torme, son of Mel Torme, Ricci Martin, son of Dean Martin, and Lorna Luft, daughter of Judy Garland. Anthony Lewis, son of Jerry Lewis was cast as the Master of Ceremonies, and this could not have surprised me more because several months ago when Anthony Lewis guested live in-studio on Las Vegas Backstage Talk, he had made it quite clear then that he was strictly a “behind the scenes production guy,” and had zero aspirations of being a performer or being in front of the camera, or crowd…and that’s still the impression that he left even after watching him host this show.
A very crucial yet common mistake that many producers make is in thinking that anyone can emcee an event if the line-up is good… “All they have to do is introduce the acts.” This cannot be less true. The Last Comic Standing show at The Aliante Casino made this same mistake in having the road manager for Last Comic Standing’s road shows emcee their show of headliners last September.
The master of ceremonies makes the first impression of the evening’s presentation and is responsible for setting the tone, warming-up the crowd, establishing a rapport with the audience, and taking charge of the pacing of the show. This means that they need to have the skill and ability to ad-lib comfortably and tune-in to what the audience needs and is experiencing…all of which requires a certain amount of comfort and confidence on-stage, good timing, experience, artfulness, preparation, and a sense of humor. And that’s just for starters. Hence the “master” in the title- Master of Ceremonies which was obviously extremely overlooked or misunderstood in Patty’s casting of her husband, Anthony Lewis in the MC role in which he appeared uncomfortable and unprepared for when he hit the stage and immediately started reading the show introduction off a card. This not only set the wrong tone to the packed pavilion right off the bat, but also made it difficult for his fellow co-stars to build any kind of momentum when one by one they were thrown to an un-warmed up, now skeptical crowd. A much better and obvious choice for the emcee position would have been veteran performer Steve March-Torme, who comes off warm and inviting and connects well with audiences with humor and ease. Comedian Sandy Hackett, son of Buddy Hackett, would have also been another good choice as he specializes and has a passion for emceeing, and should be considered for future shows. Adding a comedian to this line-up would also add a little more variety to the mix. Desi Arnaz Jr., and sister, Lucy Arnez are also other stars worth pursuing for future shows, and I can only imagine the footage and creativity that they could bring to this type of production.
The beauty of this show concept is that the cast can be interchangeable, and with the help of the stars’ respective rare personal footage integrated on the large video screens, I believe this show can have broad national and international appeal. In future productions, I would hope to see more moving personal stories integrated into the artists’ sets, father/son/ daughter duets, (like the “Unforgettable” duet with Nat King Cole and daughter Natalie,) some running gags, and for the finale… all the artists on-stage singing and interacting together with a close that allows them to shine individually as well as together to a carefully picked song with lyrics that are relevant and capture the spirit of The Next Generation. In the meantime unless Anthony Lewis makes the decision that he would like to be in front of an audience and is willing to commit to putting the time into working out material and to getting experience on different stages, I’m sure with his extensive background in production he can contribute much more behind the scenes than in front of the audience while still utilizing his name in the credits.
Television talk show Host Wendy Williams is another one that decided to step out of her comfort zone and try stand-up comedy as she announced on her Talk show several months ago. At that time, her intent was to go to small clubs and try out material but before she could even do that she was invited by The Venetian to make her comedy debut on their weekend female comedy series Lipshtick. I finally went to see Wendy’s show which was sold-out for the second time. I loved that she had her comedy coach Luenell open for her as she is simply a laugh-riot. I think Wendy is on the right track with her story-telling style and I’m sure will develop many more needed punchlines and running-gags as she matures in her comedy, and very strongly prefer her to stay away from raw low-level comedy or bathroom humor, as it just doesn’t seem to fit with her already established persona. She is passed that and doesn’t need to go there. I would leave that very blue humor to Luenell, as she pulls it off quite masterfully.
One never knows what to expect on a live show. Last month we aired Singer Jack Jones’ interview and have a short video clip posted on casinocenter.com of Jack in-studio taking a cell phone call while in the middle of a live radio interview!
Singer Jack Jones takes personal cell phone call on live radio
My picks: Hank Williams Junior, Golden Nugget, December 4- 6, Heart, Mandalay Bay, December 5-7, Train, Better Than Ezra, Matt Nathanson, Hard Rock Hotel, December 5, Amy Schumer, Cosmopolitan, December 6, Merle Haggard, Golden Nugget, December 7 & 8, Olivia Newton John, Flamingo, December 9-13, December 30-January 3, Alabama, Golden Nugget, December 11 & 12th, The Shirelles, M casino, December 13, Tears For Fears, Palms, December 13, Three Dog Night, Eastside cannery, December 13, Tony Orlando Christmas show, South point, December 19- 21, Michael McDonald, Eastside Cannery, December 20, Jerry Seinfeld, Caesar’s Palace, December 26 & 27, Chris D’Elia, Mirage, December 27, Joe McHale, Mirage, December 29 & 30, Maroon 5, Mandalay Bay, December 30 and 31, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, The Cosmopolitan, Dec. 31
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Nov. 27, 2014 6pm-7pm PST 1230AM in LV & The Web
Singer BJ Thomas guests on “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” radio Show with Comedian Michele LaFong. LVBST radio show is the only show that “Gets Personal with the Stars.”
Five-time Grammy® Award winning hit-maker BJ Thomas will perform at the Suncoast Showroom.
In 1966, Thomas released his first hit record, a cover of Hank Williams classic, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” From 1967 to 1975, Thomas charted numerous hits, including: “The Eyes of a New York Woman,” “Hooked on a Feeling,” “It’s Only Love,” and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.”
Thomas is perhaps best-known for “Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” featured in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and winner of an Academy Award® for “Best Original Song.” Since then, the song has been featured in numerous movies, including “Forrest Gump,” “Clerks II,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Spider-Man 2.”
During the ‘80s, Thomas’ music crossed over to the country charts with “Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love,” “New Looks from an Old Lover” and “Two Car Garage.” He became the 60th member of the Grand Old Opry in 1981.
In 1985, Thomas recorded “As Long As We’ve Got Each Other” which was later used as the theme song for the hit ABC sitcom, “Growing Pains.”
In 2007, he released his fourth holiday album, “Home for Christmas.”
BJ will be featured in Comedian Michele LaFong’s Monthly Syndicated “Las Vegas Backstage Talk” column in Casino Player Magazine, and will soon be featured in LaFong’s Syndicated “Getting Personal with the Stars” column in Gaming Today.
More about BJ Thomas here–>
Comedian – Jackie ‘The Joke Man’ Martling
Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling guests on LVBST and will talk about his experiences on “The Howard Stern Show,” and his life on stage, and off, since leaving.
While touring as a national headliner, Martling released three comedy lp’s, 1979’s “What Did You Expect?,” 1980’s “Goin’ Ape!,” and 1981’s “Normal People Are People You Don’t Know That Well.” He blindly sent the three LP’s to Howard Stern upon Howard’s arrival at WNBC-AM in New York City in 1982, and Howard called him to make a guest appearance on his radio show. in 1986, Jackie became a full-time cast member and the head writer of Stern’s show.
Jackie left the show in 2001 after fifteen-year run as head writer of the radio show, four television series, and three Pay-Per-Views.
He still works all around the country, performing his solo act of rapid-fire filthy jokes and the classic finale, “Stump The Joke Man,” is about to release a CD of his original music entitled “Happy Endings,” and is currently doing his own radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio 101, “Jackie’s Joke Hunt.
Jackie Martling’s videotaped interview on LVBST with Comedian Michele LaFong is posted on lasvegasbackstagetalk.com
More about Jackie Martling here–>Share on Facebook Tweet